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3.6 Degrees of Civilization We begin with a little humor this Sunday! Sahil Kapur at TPMDC explains how Mitch Sen. Mitch McConnell Filibusters His Own Debt Ceiling Bill Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wanted to prove on Thursday that Democrats don’t have the votes to weaken Congress’ authority on the debt limit. Instead they called his bluff, and he ended up filibustering his own bill. The legislation, modeled on a proposal McConnell offered last year as a “last-choice option” to avert a U.S. debt default, would permit the president to unilaterally lift the debt ceiling unless Congress mustered a two-thirds majority to stop him. President Obama has championed the idea. McConnell brought up the legislation Thursday morning. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) initially objected, seemingly proving the Republican leader’s point that it cannot pass the Senate. But then Reid ran it by his members and, in the afternoon, agreed to hold that same vote. This time it was McConnell who objected. “The Republican leader objects to his own idea,” Reid declared on the floor. “So I guess we have a filibuster of his own bill.” ..... “If the Democrats want to pass the debt ceiling, as we did last year, with two trillion dollars in spending cuts, we’d be more than happy to have that conversation,” a Senate Republican leadership aide told TPM. “But there is bipartisan opposition to giving this or any President the unlimited authority to raise the debt ceiling.” That was the point McConnell set out to make this morning, but Reid’s maneuvering left the Republican in an awkward position. And the Democratic leader vows more votes. “Senator McConnell’s filibuster prevented us from having this vote today,” he said in a statement, “but I will continue to seek an agreement to hold an up-or-down vote on his proposal to avoid another debt ceiling debacle.” BWAAAHAHAHAAAAA! Then the AP reports via WaPo FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey quits tea party group in secret deal that pays him $8 million Eased out with an $8 million payout provided by an influential Republican fundraiser, former GOP House Majority Leader Dick Armey says he has left the conservative tea party group FreedomWorks because of an internal split over the group’s future direction. A confidential contract obtained by The Associated Press shows that Armey agreed in September to resign from his role as chairman of Washington-based FreedomWorks in exchange for $8 million in consulting fees paid in annual $400,000 installments. Dated Sept. 24, the contract specifies that Armey would resign his position at both FreedomWorks and its sister organization, the FreedomWorks Foundation, by the end of November. According to the contract, Armey’s consulting fees will be paid by Richard J. Stephenson, a prominent fundraiser and founder and chairman of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, a national cancer treatment network. Stephenson is on the board of directors of FreedomWorks. ..... Armey confirmed his departure Tuesday, telling the AP that “my differences with FreedomWorks are a matter of principle.” ....... In an internal Nov. 30 resignation memo published by Mother Jones, Armey told FreedomWorks CEO Matt Kibbe to remove his “name, image and signature” from all the group’s materials and Web operations. Kibbe and other FreedomWorks officials were not immediately available for comment. Armey, who had been with the tea party group since its 2004 founding, is a veteran Texas Republican Party political figure who was intimately involved in the GOP’s conservative “Contract with America” congressional movement in the 1990s. While Armey, 72, was FreedomWorks’ co-chairman and intellectual authority and at first, its public face, the younger Kibbe has been its most active official, appearing at the group’s public gatherings. ..... $400K for the next 20 years is a pretty nice going-away gift, eh? Too bad Stephenson isn't giving that cash to his own "Cancer Treatment Centers of America". Basturd. David Corn and Andy Kroll have the leaked memo at MoJo Exclusive: Dick Armey Quits Tea Party Group in Split Over Direction (UPDATED) "In the email, Armey indicated that he wants nothing to do with FreedomWorks anymore. " Also at MoJo Dana Liebelson writes about another GOPher jumping ship Jim DeMint Is Resigning: Here Are His 7 Craziest Moments. As the GOPhers are abandoning ship and the Tea Bag Caucus is in disarray after Obomber's huge re-eletion win Glenn Greenwald points out Progressive media claims they'll be 'tougher' on Obama now ...... As for the vow that media progressives will now criticize Obama more and hold him more accountable, permit me to say that I simply do not believe this will happen. This is not because I think those who are taking this vow are being dishonest - they may very well have convinced themselves that they mean it - but because the rationalization they have explicitly adopted and vigorously advocated precludes any change in behavior. Over the past four years, they have justified their supine, obsequious posture toward the nation's most powerful political official by appealing to the imperatives of electoral politics: namely, it's vital to support rather than undermine Obama so as to not help Republicans win elections. Why won't that same mindset operate now to suppress criticisms of the Democratic leader? It's true that Obama himself will no longer run in an election. But any minute now, we're going to be hearing that the 2014 midterm elections are right around the corner and are of Crucial Significance. Using their reasoning, won't it be the case that those who devote their efforts to criticizing Obama and "holding accountable" the Democrats will be effectively helping the Republicans win that election? Won't Obama critics stand accused of trying to keep the Speaker's gavel in the hands of the Tea Party rather than returning it to Nancy Pelosi, or of trying to hand Senate control over to Mitch McConnell (or, soon enough, of trying to give the White House to Marco Rubio instead of Hillary Clinton)? Once one decides in the name of electoral expediency to abdicate their primary duty as a citizen and especially as a journalist - namely, to hold accountable those who wield the greatest political power - then this becomes a permanent abdication. That's because US politics is essentially one permanent, never-ending election. ...... If sustained criticisms of the president should have been suppressed in deference to the 2012 election, then I simply don't see why the same mindset won't apply to the 2014 and 2016 elections. But let's assume for the sake of argument that I'm wrong here, and that the "progressive media" really is gearing up to change behavior and unleash a torrent of demands and criticisms aimed at Obama. Here's my primary question about that: why would that matter? Read on for the answer!
ZeroHedge has a short but important Guest Post: Still Not Spreading the Wealth Around Via John Aziz Of Azizonomics blog Obama has always claimed to want to spread the wealth around. Yet, as I stressed this June (and in my first ever blog post way back in July 2011!) that’s the exact opposite of what he has achieved. And it’s getting worse, not better.
Wages-as-a-proportion-of-GDP just hit another all-time low: [graph] And corporate-profits-as-a-proportion-of-GDP just hit another all-time high: [graph] Obama might throw a lot of rhetoric about fighting for the middle class. But the reality has been the opposite. America today is all about the enrichment of big banks, financial corporations and the military-industrial complex, while the working class has rotted. The truth of Obama’s policies (and successive administrations prior to Obama) is more concentrated wealth within the financial elites and Wall Street. Banks get bailed out. Campaign donors get stimulus money. And the middle class and future generations pay for it in taxation and the Cantillon Effect. The Obama reinflation is a rotten bubble built on rotten foundations. Trying to reinflate the economy from a starting debt ratio of over 350% of GDP through crony corporatism and helicopter drops to the rich is an absurd notion that is doomed to abject failure. And the growing gap between the rich and the poor is steadily beginning to resemble neofeudalism.
IN yet another example of capitalism's cold cold hand Renee Dudley & Arun Devnath report at Bloomberg Wal-Mart Nixed Paying Bangladesh Suppliers to Fight Fire At a meeting convened in 2011 to boost safety at Bangladesh garment factories, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) made a call: paying suppliers more to help them upgrade their manufacturing facilities was too costly. The comments from a Wal-Mart sourcing director appear in minutes of the meeting, which was attended by more than a dozen retailers including Gap Inc. (GPS), Target Corp. and JC Penney Co.
Details of the meeting have emerged after a fire at a Bangladesh factory that made clothes for Wal-Mart and Sears Holdings Corp. killed more than 100 people last month. The blaze has renewed pressure on companies to improve working conditions in Bangladesh, where more than 700 garment workers have died since 2005, according to the International Labor Rights Forum, a Washington-based advocacy group. At the April 2011 meeting in Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital, retailers discussed a contractually enforceable memorandum that would require them to pay Bangladesh factories prices high enough to cover costs of safety improvements. Sridevi Kalavakolanu, a Wal-Mart director of ethical sourcing, told attendees the company wouldn’t share the cost, according to Ineke Zeldenrust, international coordinator for the Clean Clothes Campaign, who attended the gathering. Kalavakolanu and her counterpart at Gap reiterated their position in a report folded into the meeting minutes, obtained by Bloomberg News.
“Specifically to the issue of any corrections on electrical and fire safety, we are talking about 4,500 factories, and in most cases very extensive and costly modifications would need to be undertaken to some factories,” they said in the document. “It is not financially feasible for the brands to make such investments.” ..... At the April 2011 meeting in Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital, retailers discussed a contractually enforceable memorandum that would require them to pay Bangladesh factories prices high enough to cover costs of safety improvements. Sridevi Kalavakolanu, a Wal-Mart director of ethical sourcing, told attendees the company wouldn’t share the cost, according to Ineke Zeldenrust, international coordinator for the Clean Clothes Campaign, who attended the gathering. Kalavakolanu and her counterpart at Gap reiterated their position in a report folded into the meeting minutes, obtained by Bloomberg News. “Specifically to the issue of any corrections on electrical and fire safety, we are talking about 4,500 factories, and in most cases very extensive and costly modifications would need to be undertaken to some factories,” they said in the document. “It is not financially feasible for the brands to make such investments.” ..... “You know it is extremely important, and they say: ‘There’s no way we’re going to pay for that,’” said Zeldenrust, whose Amsterdam-based organization pushes for improved working conditions in the global garment industry. For more on this we go to Carol Off and the CBC's "As It Happens" Thursday show Thursday: Bangladesh Fire Update, New Brunswick Mayor Resigns, Donald Trump Bars Glenfiddich, and more... BANGLADESH FIRE: WALMART DOCS - Duration: 00:07:24 - Most fires at factories can be prevented. But fire prevention costs money. And, it seems, in Bangladesh, big retailers like Walmart simply don't want to make the investment. Almost two weeks ago, a garment factory in Bangladesh went up in flames. One-hundred-and-twelve workers died. Now, documents have come to light suggesting Walmart wasn't just a client of that factory -- it was reluctant to pay to improve fire safety in Bangladesh. Scott Nova was at an April 2011 meeting where the issue of fire safety was raised with Walmart. He's the head of the Workers Rights Consortium NGO. We reached him in Washington. The CBC media player is HERE to listen. And a few weeks ago PRI's Marketplace ran a series on Walmart's warehouse chains Workers protest pay, conditions at Walmart warehouses Part One by Mitchell Hartman from the "Wealth and Poverty" desk. Do check parts two and three at the link.
NEXT Paul Krugman writes for the NYT Op-Ed page about The Forgotten Millions Let’s get one thing straight: America is not facing a fiscal crisis. It is, however, still very much experiencing a job crisis. It’s easy to get confused about the fiscal thing, since everyone’s talking about the “fiscal cliff.” Indeed, one recent poll suggests that a large plurality of the public believes that the budget deficit will go up if we go off that cliff. In fact, of course, it’s just the opposite: The danger is that the deficit will come down too much, too fast. And the reasons that might happen are purely political; we may be about to slash spending and raise taxes not because markets demand it, but because Republicans have been using blackmail as a bargaining strategy, and the president seems ready to call their bluff. Moreover, despite years of warnings from the usual suspects about the dangers of deficits and debt, our government can borrow at incredibly low interest rates — interest rates on inflation-protected U.S. bonds are actually negative, so investors are paying our government to make use of their money. And don’t tell me that markets may suddenly turn on us. Remember, the U.S. government can’t run out of cash (it prints the stuff), so the worst that could happen would be a fall in the dollar, which wouldn’t be a terrible thing and might actually help the economy. Yet there is a whole industry built around the promotion of deficit panic. Lavishly funded corporate groups keep hyping the danger of government debt and the urgency of deficit reduction now now now — except that these same groups are suddenly warning against too much deficit reduction. No wonder the public is confused. Meanwhile, there is almost no organized pressure to deal with the terrible thing that is actually happening right now — namely, mass unemployment. Yes, we’ve made progress over the past year. But long-term unemployment remains at levels not seen since the Great Depression: as of October, 4.9 million Americans had been unemployed for more than six months, and 3.6 million had been out of work for more than a year. When you see numbers like those, bear in mind that we’re looking at millions of human tragedies: at individuals and families whose lives are falling apart because they can’t find work, at savings consumed, homes lost and dreams destroyed. And the longer this goes on, the bigger the tragedy. There are also huge dollars-and-cents costs to our unmet jobs crisis. When willing workers endure forced idleness society as a whole suffers from the waste of their efforts and talents. ..... So why aren’t we helping the unemployed? It’s not because we can’t afford it. Given those ultralow borrowing costs, plus the damage unemployment is doing to our economy and hence to the tax base, you can make a pretty good case that spending more to create jobs now would actually improve our long-run fiscal position. Nor, I think, is it really ideology. Even Republicans, when opposing cuts in defense spending, immediately start talking about how such cuts would destroy jobs — and I’m sorry, but weaponized Keynesianism, the assertion that government spending creates jobs, but only if it goes to the military, doesn’t make sense. No, in the end it’s hard to avoid concluding that it’s about class. .... See Krugman on This Snufagopolis where he asks George Will what he's doing about the fiscal bunny hill! Haha!
MoJo's Food and Ag Blogger Tom Philpott tries to explain why DOJ Mysteriously Quits Monsanto Antitrust Investigation There's an age-old tradition in Washington of making unpopular announcements when no one's listening—like, you know, the days leading up to Thanksgiving. That's when the Obama administration sneaked a tasty dish to the genetically modified seed/pesticide industry. This treat involves the unceremonious end of the Department of Justice's antitrust investigation into possible anticompetitive practices in the US seed market, which it had begun in January 2010. It's not hard to see why DOJ would take a look. For the the crops that cover the bulk of US farmland like corn, soy, and cotton, the seed trade is essentially dominated by five companies: Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer, and Dow. And a single company, Monsanto, supplies nearly all genetically modified traits now so commonly used in those crops, which it licenses to its rivals for sale in their own seeds. What's harder to figure out is why the DOJ ended the investigation without taking any action—and did so with a near-complete lack of public information. The DOJ didn't even see fit to mark the investigation's end with a press release. News of it emerged from a brief item Monsanto itself issued the Friday before Thanksgiving, declaring it had "received written notification" from the DOJ antitrust division that it had ended its investigation "without taking any enforcement action." A DOJ spokesperson confirmed to me that the agency had "closed its investigation into possible anticompetitive practices in the seed industry," but would divulge no details. "In making its decision, the Antitrust Division took into account marketplace developments that occurred during the pendency of the investigation," she stated via email. I asked what precisely those "marketplace developments" were. "I don’t have anything else for you," she replied. Monsanto, too, is being tight-lipped—a company spokesperson said the company had no statement to make beyond the above-linked press release. ..... To get an idea of how far this market has come under the control of just a handful of companies, think of genetically modified seeds as computers—hardware and software. In this rather common but apt analogy, the actual seed is the hardware and the genetically modified traits they carry—like the ability to withstand herbicides, as in Monsanto's Roundup Ready traits—are the software. Getting market share data for an industry like seeds is a maddening task. No government agency, including the US Department of Agriculture, tracks it. But it's not hard to establish that a few companies dominate it, with Monsanto at the top. Indeed, Monsanto alone essentially controls the software-like part of the market, traits: According to Monsanto's rival, DuPont, Monsanto traits end up in 98 percent of the GM soybeans grown in the US and 79 percent of the corn—a claim Monsanto doesn't dispute. ....... So did DOJ make a reasonable decision in dropping its investigation of Monsanto and the broader seed market? It's impossible to say, given that it refuses to release any details. But there is evidence of potential market power in the industry. For example, one sign of an uncompetitive industry is the ability to raise prices at will, unimpeded by price pressure from rivals. It's impossible to say, without more information, if the GMO giants have done that—but prices have risen briskly over the past decade. ..... There's also evidence that farmers lack access to lower-priced seeds. ..... Finally, a competitive market might be expected to be characterized by a high level of innovation—especially a market as high tech as GM seeds. But as the Center for Food Safety's Freese pointed out to me, the main GM traits we see in the field today are the same as those we saw in the 1990s, when GMOs were rolled out: herbicide resistance and Bt. .... Much more! WOW! In a related matter our occasional contributor Double D sends in this Robert Krulwich On Science NPR blog "Krulwich Wonders" Cornstalks Everywhere But Nothing Else, Not Even A Bee We'll start in a cornfield — we'll call it an Iowa cornfield in late summer — on a beautiful day. The corn is high. The air is shimmering. There's just one thing missing — and it's a big thing......a very big thing, but I won't tell you what, not yet. Instead, let's take a detour..... Please go see this article NOW! We'll give you a hint what's there: can you say "monoculture"? And from last August another related item by Jeff Conant at YES Magazine The Dark Side of the “Green Economy” Why some indigenous groups and environmentalists are saying no to the “green economy.” From the The Public is a threat that needs to be countered desk here's another green-washer caught red-handed! Andrew C. Ravkin's DotEarth at the NYT reports Damning Review of Gas Study Prompts a Shakeup at the University of Texas The University of Texas said today that it has accepted the findings of a damning independent review of the preparation of a report on potential impacts of shale gas drilling by the school’s Energy Institute. The school said it will undertake six recommended actions, the most significant being the withdrawal of papers from the Energy Institute’s Web site related to the report until they are submitted for fresh expert review. In its news release, the university said that the lead investigator, Professor Chip Groat, retired last month and the institute’s director, Raymond Orbach, resigned. (*There's more from [NPR's] StateImpact Texas reporting project here.) The independent review, by a trio of noted science administrators and scholars, expressly did not examine the quality of the study’s findings, but focused on issues related to its creation — particularly what it deemed to be serious problems with undisclosed financial interests (earlier Dot Earth coverage is here). [Dec. 7, 4:37 p.m. | Update | Although the authors wrote that they were not tasked with evaluating the contents, a Dot Earth reader, "JD," pointed to a searing section of the summary (page 14) that I missed in my quick scan late yesterday; see the bottom of this post for the excerpt.] .... From the State Impact Texas piece This summer, the Public Accountability Initiative, a watchdog group, reported that the head of the study, UT professor Chip Groat, had been sitting on the board of a drilling company the entire time. His compensation totaled over $1.5 million over the last five years. That prompted the University to announce an independent review of the study a month later, which was released today. You can listen to the story HERE.
BRADLEY MANNING UPDATE: Marine official: Manning held improperly in brig DAVID DISHNEAU | AP - FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — The Marine Corps' top correctional officer says an Army private charged with giving U.S. secrets to WikiLeaks was improperly kept on suicide watch for at least seven days of his nine months' confinement at a brig in Quantico, Va. Chief Warrant Officer 5 Abel Galaviz testified Wednesday during a pretrial hearing at Fort Meade for Pfc. Bradley Manning. The hearing is to determine whether Manning's confinement was so punishing that the case should be dismissed. Galaviz says the brig commander should have immediately followed psychiatrists' recommendations to take Manning off suicide watch instead of waiting several days, on two occasions.Galaviz also testified that a board that made recommendations to the commander about Manning's confinement conditions used improper procedures. The brig commander is scheduled to testify Thursday. David Dishneau of The Associated Press reports on that brig commander in Marine brig officials grilled about Bradley Manning's jailing (via BaltimoreSun.com) On the eighth day of the pretrial hearing at Fort Meade, Chief Warrant Officer 4 James Averhart was called to the stand by prosecutors — their 10th witness in the last five days. Defense attorney David Coombs spent about five hours on a cross-examination aimed at undercutting the government's position that brig commanders believed Manning's treatment was justified to prevent self-injury. ..... Coombs and Averhart sparred Thursday over the meaning of the word "shall" in this military corrections regulation: "When prisoners are no longer considered to be suicide risks by a medical officer, they shall be returned to appropriate quarters." The defense attorney asked why Averhart didn't act immediately after receiving the psychiatric report. Averhart said the regulation meant the prisoner should be removed from suicide watch "at a particular time to be determined."
- "'Shall' does not mean, the way I perceive it, `immediately', or `right now'," he said. Coombs tried to pin him down: "Does that have a time limitation?" Averhart said the regulation allowed him to decide when the restrictions should be eased. "Although the order is vague — it does say `shall,' it does not say `right now' or `immediately,' sir — it still gives me the opportunity to evaluate," he said.
IN other Army News HuffPoAOL's Michael Hill tells us about Blake Page, West Point Cadet, Quits Military Academy Over Religion (VIDEO) A cadet quitting West Point less than six months before graduation says he could no longer be part of a culture that promotes prayers and religious activities and disrespects nonreligious cadets. Blake Page announced his decision to quit the U.S. Military Academy this week in a much-discussed online post that echoed the sentiments of soldiers and airmen at other military installations. The 24-year-old told The Associated Press that a determination this semester that he could not become an officer because of clinical depression played a role in his public protest against what he calls the unconstitutional prevalence of religion in the military. "I've been trying since I found that out: What can I do? What can I possibly do to initiate the change that I want to see and so many other people want to see?" Page said. "I realized that this is one way I can make that change happen." Page criticized a culture where cadets stand silently for prayers, where nonreligious cadets were jokingly called "heathens" by instructors at basic training and where one officer told him he'd never be a leader until he filled the hole in his heart. In announcing his resignation this week on The Huffington Post, he denounced "criminals" in the military who violate the oaths they swore to defend the Constitution. "I don't want to be a part of West Point knowing that the leadership here is OK with just shrugging off and shirking off respect and good order and discipline and obeying the law and defending the Constitution and doing their job," he told the AP. ..... Page said he hears about the plight of other nonreligious cadets in part through his involvement with the West Point affiliate of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. The founder and president of that advocacy group said Page's action is a milestone in the fight against "fanatical religiosity" in the military. "This is an extraordinary act of courage that I do compare directly to what Rosa Parks did," said Mikey Weinstein. .... Read Page's full statement Blake Page: Why I Don't Want to Be a West Point Graduate
IN MICHIGAN EqualityMI.org reports Extremist Michigan Legislators Pass Out of Committee Bills Denying Homes to Foster Children DETROIT – Extremists serving on the Michigan House Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors have passed two bills out of committee, House Bills 5763 and 5764, which would allow adoption agencies the ability to deny an adoption placement based on that agency's moral or religious beliefs. Emily Dievendorf, director of policy for Equality Michigan, testified against the bills each time it came up for committee vote, alongside parents and advocates from partner organizations. Video of parents testifying against the bill is available on Equality Michigan's blog..... With the possibility of the bill going before the Michigan House of Representatives for a floor vote, Equality Michigan has partnered with Howard Dean's Democracy for America to collect signatures on a petition opposing the bills. An online action to send emails to members of the committee which passed the bill resulted in over 10,000 emails being sent to elected officials. People interested in taking action can visit action.equalitymi.org for more information on the petition. ....
John Nichols explains at The Nation GOP, Koch Brothers Sneak Attack Guts Labor Rights in Michigan .... After Republican leaders announced Thursday morning that they intended to enact so-called “right to work” legislation—which is always better described as “no rights at work” legislation—the Michigan state House voted Thursday afternoon to eliminate basic union organizing and workplace protections that generations of American workers fought to establish. Several hours later, the Michigan state Senate did the same thing, as part of a bold anti-labor initiative launched in coordination with a Koch Brothers–funded Americans for Prosperity project to “pave the way for right to work in states across our nation.” As the Republicans launched the attack on unions and their members, Americans for Prosperity—a group developed and funded by right-wing industrialists and billionaire campaign donors Charles and David Koch—was in the thick of things. AFP recruited conservatives to show up at the state Capitol in Lansing to counter union protests and prepared materials supporting the Michigan initiative, including a fifteen-page booklet titled “Unions: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: How forced unionization has harmed workers and Michigan.” Within minutes of the announcement by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder that Republicans would ram through the “right to work” legislation, AFP was hailing the move in formal statements “as the shot heard around the world for workplace freedom.” Snyder, a Republican, has indicated that he will sign the measure that was passed during a lame-duck session of the legislature. ..... This was theme of protests throughout the day, as Michigan unions made the point that undermining labor rights undermines the living standards of all working people—not just union members. “There are some basic economic facts that should inform any thoughtful discussion of Right to Work legislation. Workers, union or nonunion, make an average of $1,500 less per year in Right to Work states. They are also less likely to have pension or health care benefits,” explained Michigan State AFL-CIO President Karla Swift. “The growth rate for Right to Work states before they adopted such policies is actually higher than the growth rate for these states after they adopted these laws.” The statements were true. But they were not taken seriously by the Republicans who—though they suffered setbacks in the November 6 election—control both chambers of the Michigan legislature. Swift and UAW president Bob King were among hundreds of workers who were locked out of the Michigan Capitol Thursday, as protesters inside were pepper-sprayed and arrested by State Police. The Republican legislators evidenced no intention to listen to logic, or to entertain honest debate. ....... The Michigan legislation goes much further than proposals advanced last year by Republican governors in Wisconsin and Ohio, which targeted public employees. Under the Michigan legislation, basic labor rights are stripped away from both public and private-sector workers. .... As in Wisconsin, where crucial elements of Walker’s anti-labor law have been ruled unconstitutional by the courts, the Michigan legislators bent the rules of their chambers to rush the law to Snyder’s desk. Ultimately, those abuses could end up preventing implementation of the law—although that’s a hope rather than a certainty. There is also the hope that voters in a state that voted overwhelmingly for President Obama and Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow on November 6 will eventually elect a new pro-labor governor and legislature. ..... For more on this outrageous attack on unions read Right To Work In Michigan: Democracy At Its Worst at NH Labor News.
AlternativeNews.org tells us to WATCH: Roger Waters at UN on 29 November Roger Waters, appearing on behalf of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, makes a wonderful presentation to the United Nations General Assembly conducted on November 29, 2012. Waters, a jury member during the fourth session of the Russell Tribunal held in New York on 6-7 October 2012, was invited to present the session’s summary of findings to the General Assembly. These findings include the crime of apartheid. Excellent!!
Here are a few more items of interest you should peruse..
- MADDY Noel Sharkey America's mindless killer robots must be stopped The rational approach to the inhumanity of automating death by machines beyond the control of human handlers is to prohibit it
- Dispatches from the Youth Climate Movement itsgettinghotinhere.org Doha Climate Talks: First Farce, then Tragedy
- Of all the findings in the 2012 edition of the World Energy Outlook, the one that merits the greatest international attention is the one that received the least. Even if governments take vigorous steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the report concluded, the continuing increase in fossil fuel consumption will result in “a long-term average global temperature increase of 3.6 degrees C.” This should stop everyone in their tracks. Most scientists believe that an increase of 2 degrees Celsius is about all the planet can accommodate without unimaginably catastrophic consequences: sea-level increases that will wipe out many coastal cities, persistent droughts that will destroy farmland on which hundreds of millions of people depend for their survival, the collapse of vital ecosystems, and far more. An increase of 3.6 degrees C essentially suggests the end of human civilization as we know it. To put this in context, human activity has already warmed the planet by about 0.8 degrees C -- enough to produce severe droughts around the world, trigger or intensify intense storms like Hurricane Sandy, and drastically reduce the Arctic ice cap. “Given those impacts,” writes noted environmental author and activist Bill McKibben, “many scientists have come to think that two degrees is far too lenient a target.” Among those cited by McKibben is Kerry Emanuel of MIT, a leading authority on hurricanes. “Any number much above one degree involves a gamble,” Emanuel writes, “and the odds become less and less favorable as the temperature goes up.” Thomas Lovejoy, once the World Bank's chief biodiversity adviser, puts it this way: “If we’re seeing what we're seeing today at 0.8 degrees Celsius, two degrees is simply too much.”
- Wael Hmaidan, Asad Rehman and Fahad bin Mohammed al-Attiyah Climate Cliff: As Global Emissions Peak, Hopes for U.N. Climate Deal in Doha at All-Time Low
- Voices from the Arab Youth Climate Movement march At U.N. Climate Summit in Doha, Arab Youth Activists Stage Qatar’s First-Ever Climate March
- Devendra Dhungana, Nepalese journalist U.N. Climate Summit in Qatar Brings Rare Attention to Plight of Country’s Neglected Migrant Workers
- Sharif Abdel Kouddous Egyptian Judges Join Upheaval over Morsi’s Decrees Ahead of Key Vote on New Constitution
- U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern Press Conference In Doha, Lead U.S. Negotiator Plays Down Expectations of Climate Action in Obama’s Second Term
- Mary Robinson Former Irish President Mary Robinson: Climate Change the Biggest Human Rights Issue of Our Time
- Naderev "Yeb" Sano, commissioner of the Philippines Climate Change Commission As Typhoon Bopha Wreaks Havoc, Philippine Negotiator Urges Wealthy Nations to Address Global Warming
- Bill Hare, CEO and managing director of Climate Analytics Carbon Tsunami: World Bank Study Warns of Lethal Global Temperature Rise Even If Emissions Pledges Are Met
- David Turnbull, campaigns director of Oil Change International Study: Wealthy Nations’ Fossil Fuel Subsidies 5 Times Greater Than Climate Aid to Countries in Need
- Amy GoodmanAmy Goodman Questions Top U.S. Negotiator on Alleged Obstruction of U.N. Climate Talks in Doha
- Ronald Jumeau & Martin Khor From Small Island States to Largest Polluters, "Everyone Is Looking to the U.S." on Global Warming
- Student Anjali Appadurai "Get It Done": After Stirring Durban Speech, Student Anjali Appadurai Initially Banned by U.N. in Doha
- Victor Menotti, executive director of the International Forum on Globalization From Fossil Fuels to Global Warming Denial, Koch Brothers May Be Biggest Force Behind U.S. Inaction
- Sharif Abdel Kouddous After Deadly Clashes in Cairo, Egypt Faces One of Its Largest Political Crises Since Revolution Began
- Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International & Samantha Smith, World Wildlife Fund’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative. "We Are Running Out of Time": Obama Urged to Match Rhetoric to Action on Climate Deal
- Amanda Nesheiwat, Angeline Annesteus & Marco Cadena With Future Imperiled, Youth Activists Demand Urgent Action at U.N. Climate Summit in Doha
- Naderev "Yeb" Sano & Heherson Alvarez "If Not Now, Then When?": Filipino Negotiator Pleads for Climate Deal After Typhoon Kills 500
- Claudia Salerno & Heherson Alvarez Profiting From Pollution: Top Venezuelan Negotiator on the Economic Motives Behind the Climate Talks
- 19-year-old Munira Sibai "Your Governments Have Failed You": Syrian-American Student Munira Sibai Calls For Climate Justice
- Sunita Narain & Tom Goldtooth "The Most Obdurate Bully in the Room": U.S. Widely Criticized for Role at Climate Talks
- Najeeb al-Nuaimi & Mohamed bin Saif al-Kuwari Qatari Human Rights Official Defends Life Sentence for Poet Who Praised Arab Spring Uprisings
- Our permit to occupy public squares and parks is in The First Amendment, which affirms "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." When people across the Middle East occupied public squares, leaders in Washington mostly cheered those protesters and warned Middle Eastern governments not to use force to clear them. Those other societies don’t have a First Amendment. Yet Washington affirmed the universal right to assembly and protest. We do have a First Amendment. The force being used to clear nonviolent protesters from public squares in our country is unacceptable. It must stop.
- Lawmakers concerned about the health effects on humans from mountaintop removal coal mining set forth legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives today. Representatives Dennis Kucinich (OH), Louise Slaughter (NY), Maurice Hinchey (NY), Earl Blumenauer (OR), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA), John Yarmuth (KY), Lynn Woolsey (CA), Judy Chu (CA), Raúl Grijalva (AZ), James Moran (VA), Michael Honda (CA), John Conyers (MI), and Keith Ellison (MN) introduced the Appalachian Communities Health Emergency (ACHE) Act H.R. 5959 which would place a moratorium on permitting for mountaintop removal coal mining until health studies are conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services. The ACHE coalition presently consists of participants from Coal River Mountain Watch, Mountain Health and Heritage Association, and Christians for the Mountains. “We encourage you, if you’re concerned about mountaintop removal’s effect on your community’s health, to join us in making your voice heard,” said Allen Johnson, executive director of Christians for the Mountains. “Please contact us, learn about the issue, and take action to protect your community.”
- This Week (ABC) Host George Stephanopoulos
• ROUNDTABLE: Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.; Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas; and Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., face off on the stalled fiscal cliff negotiations
• ROUNDTABLE II: James Carville and Mary Matalin, Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, and ABC News' George Will and Matthew Dowd.
- Face The Nation (CBS) Host Bob Schiefer
• Erskine Bowles
• Alan Simpson
• Newark Mayor Cory Booker
• ROUNDTABLE: Major Garrett makes his "Face the Nation" debut as CBS News Chief White House Correspondent, TIME Magazine's Joe Klein, Washington Post's Michael Gerson, and CBS This Morning co-host Norah O'Donnell join him
- 60 Minutes (CBS)
• The False Confession Capital - It's hard to believe people would confess to a heinous crime they did not commit, but they do -- especially teenagers -- and there is no place in the U.S. where this has occurred more than in Chicago.
• The Race To Save The Tortoise - Turtles and tortoises have been roaming the planet for 200 million years, but now many of them are endangered by poachers who can sell some animals for as much as $60,000. Lesley Stahl reports from Madagascar. Andrew Metz is the producer.
- Meet the Press (NBC) Host David Gregory
• Microsoft, NBC News Dissolve MSNBC.com Joint Venture NBC is buying Microsoft's 50 percent interest in the MSNBC website for an undisclosed amount. MSNBC.com will be rebranded as NBCNews.com, and readers who logged into MSNBC.com late Sunday were automatically redirected to NBCNews.com. Microsoft is preparing to launch its own news service this fall. Although he declined to provide many details about the operation general manager of MSN.com Bob Visse said the news staff will be about the same size as the roughly 100 people who created original content for the MSNBC.com. "There is no question that we are going to have more flexibility to make our own decisions," said Vivian Schiller, NBC News' chief digital officer. "This is really an amicable breakup. We think competition will make us better." Okay then.
• Assistant Majority Leader of the Senate Dick Durbin (D-NY)
• California Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
• ROUNDTABLE: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA); Bloomberg White House Correspondent who interviewed President Obama this week, Julianna Goldman; NY Times White House Correspondent Helene Cooper; Washington Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward; and MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell.
- State of the Union With Candy Crowley (CNN) At 9 AM ET, Candy talks to the power players: politicians, business leaders and international newsmakers who will make Monday morning's headlines. At NOON ET, Candy wraps it all up with fresh interviews and the best of the earlier hours.
• Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)
• Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
• IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde
• ROUNDTABLE: Stephen Moore of The Wall Street Journal, Jackie Calmes of The New York Times, Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics and CNN’s Sr. Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash.
- HEAD ON RADIO with Bob Kincaid
Headon Radio with Bob Kincaid 6 PM Eastern, 3 PM Pacific, 2300 GMT. Duration: 3 hrs. To be part of Conversation Radio on Head-on Radio, call toll-free (877) 443-2366, or use our Liberal community line at 304-658-3333. Email bob [at] headonradio [dot] com during the show!
• MORAN MONDAY!!!!! Monday's show before Bob goes to the Bad River Convention in Deluth Wisconsin to talk about mountaintop removal being proposed in WISCONSIN fercyinoutloud! Listen HERE NOW! Bob will be LIVE THIS WEEK to tell us all about it! Keep Bob on the air HERE ya hear? Amen to the White Rose Society! Donate to Head On HERE! And join Coal River Mountain Watch at www.crmw.net!
- YOUR GREEN NEWS REPORT
The Green News Report with Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen: 6 minutes of green news, politics, analysis & snarky comment! BOOKMARK greennews.bradblog.com NOW!
• 'Green News Report' - December 6, 2012 IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Crunch time at UN climate talks in Doha; More dire warnings from the Arctic; Pollution regulations really do save lives; PLUS: Exxon hates your children (?!?!) ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
• IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see link): NASA: Climate Models Project Increase In U.S. Wildfires; UN climate may never pass US Senate; Driver still missing in coal ash slurry pond breach; Oil trains on the rise in U.S.; NJ toxic train wreck won't be cleared for a week; Divide over coal trains in Pacific NW; Starving snowy oils flock south to British Columbia ... PLUS: Photos: 60th anniversary of the deadly Great Smog of London ... and much, MUCH more! ...
• BRADBLOG UPDATE! VIDEO! 'Exxon Hates Your Children' We covered this briefly during yesterday's Green News Report, but it deserves its own item here. It's a pretty brazen --- but also very affective --- 30-second video that its creators at ExxonHatesYourChildren.com hope you will help fund to see it run over our public television airwaves. Their hope is to help counter the extraordinary amount of propaganda seen paid for every single day on those same airwaves, as funded by the corporate welfare queens otherwise known as the fossil-fuel industry. (Yes, the fossil-fuel industry uses your money to help keep you confused about the massive dangers of their own industry.) So here's a bit of welcome push-back...
• BRADBLOG UPDATE! VIDEO! 'Tax the Rich: An Animated Fairy Tale' The video was created by the California Federation of Teachers and is narrated by our pal Ed Asner. Enjoy! Better yet, share it with your kids!
• BRADBLOG UPDATE! Colbert on Republican ACORN Fantasies and 'Dr. Rick Santorum's Imaginarium' [VIDEO] BONUS VIDEO: Stewart on Republican failure to ratify U.N. treaty based on U.S. law...
- The Peter B. Collins Show PODCAST!
Listen at PeterBCollins.com!
The Peter B. Collins Show covers American news and politics from the Left Coast. Veteran talk radio personality Peter B. Collins, based in San Francisco, delivers fresh interviews, commentary and analysis on a range of important topics, with views and voices you don’t often find in the corporate media.
• Holiday Break and Website Changes
- To my valued listeners: We are making some changes to the website and our terms, effective in January. We will continue to offer free podcasts–my new daily news and commentary. Our in-depth interviews will be available for $1 per episode, or to subscribers who pay $5 per month or more. Loyal listeners who simply can’t afford it should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, as we will be offering a limited number of scholarships to our friends who are hurting during these tough times. More information will be posted as we complete the revisions. I’m grateful to each of you for listening and supporting this work, and hope that the new model will enable us to keep it going well into the future. All the best, -pbc
• PBC Standard Podcast December 7, 2012 Journalist Steve Horn and Financial Analyst Deborah Rogers Expose the Shale Gas Bubble and Other Fracking News; Prof. Noha Radwan on Egypt and Morsi’s Future
- Ring of Fire Radio
Find us at http://ringoffireradio.com and http://goleft.tv/ hosted by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Mike Papantonio and Sam Seder
Ring of Fire Radio - GoLeft TV - Robert F. Kennedy, Mike Papantonio, Sam Seder - Politics, Commentary, and News.
December 8th, 2012 Show Lineup for Ring of Fire!
• Author and economics professor Richard Wolff will be here to tell us why the only way we can change our corrupt financial system will be from the bottom up.
• Author and political strategist Mike Lux will discuss the options that President Obama has to overcome GOP obstruction during his second term.
• Investigative journalist Rick Outzen will join us to talk about the threat of the Southern states to secede from America following Obama’s re-election.
• Journalist Martha Rosenberg joins us to discuss the pharmaceutical industry’s indifference towards the victims of their negligence.
• Author and consultant Cliff Schecter will give us the latest on the fiscal cliff fiasco.
• And author Les Leopold will tell us how Wall Street greed has caused our current economic uncertainty.
• VIDEO! THE HISTORY OF CORPORATE CORRUPTION & FRAUD with Robert Kennedy Jr & Mike Papantonio “Call us if you have a personal story about Fraud on Taxpayers or False Claims for Payment made by Corportations at 1-866-389-FIRE (3473)or contact us by email at email@example.com if you have evidence of fraud that robbed taxpayer dollars. If our government is paying too much due to fraud by a corporation, Ring of Fire wants to do a story on it.”
• VIDEO! Papantonio: Corporations Trying To Patent Your Genes (VIDEO) Mike Papantonio appears on The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann to discuss the lawsuit that will be argued before the Supreme Court on whether or not corporations can patent human genes.
• VIDEO! Papantonio: Republican Lawmakers Sacrifice The Poor For The Wealthy (VIDEO) The Republicans in Washington have a plan that they say can help keep America from going over the fiscal cliff that they created – They tell us that by cutting social programs, we can balance the budget and all live happily ever after. So what’s going to happen when millions of Americans lose their insurance, their pensions, their Medicare, and their Social Security? Let’s find out from Mike Papantonio and author Cliff Schecter.
• Join our blog at www.ringoffireradio.com. You can now SUBSCRIBE TO OUR PODCAST by clicking on the "Podcast" tab at the top of the Ring of Fire blog. Please help support progressive radio by signing up!
Ring of Fire Radio Ring of Fire, hosted by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Mike Papantonio and Sam Seder: Saturdays at 3 o’clock Eastern, rebroadcasts 8-11 et Sunday evenings on Chicago's Progressive Talk WCPT AM & FM and 4 pm et on Sirius/XM 167 featuring The PAP Attack! "We’ll bring you the stories that the mainstream media didn’t feel like reporting this week."
- Majority Report with Sam Seder Streaming LIVE weekdays 11:30 am et @ Majority.fm!
• December 3, 2102 No Show Today No show today. We will be back live tomorrow! And please take our listener survey. Thanks so much!
• December 4, 2012 Bravo, Bob Costas
• December 5, 2012 Sam Holds It Down
• December 6, 2012 Eric Boehlert & Taking Apart Alan Simpson on the Daily Show
• December 7, 2012 Cliff Schecter & Film Guy Matthew, Casual Friday
• MORE Podcast Interviews at Majority.fm!
- On the Edge with Max Keiser Podcasts and more @ MaxKeiser.com!
"HI Y'ALL! Tell the people! Tell the people!"
WHO IS MAX KEISER? Max Keiser is a financial expert, Prediction Markets analyst, inventor and filmmaker. He is the creator of the Hollywood Stock Exchange (HSX) the first Prediction Market. Max Keiser co-hosts "The Truth About Markets" on ResonanceFM 104.4 in London. He also produces and presents documentary films covering markets and finance for Al Jazeera’s "People & Power" series. Max Keiser started his career on Wall Street in 1983. He is the creator of KarmaBanque a site that enables activists to challenge corporate power.
• VISIT PirateMyFilm.com!!! Crowd Funding for Pirates!
• NEW! MaxKeiserTV on YouTube! MaxKeiserTV PLUS here is Max Keiser’s official Facebook page And here is the official Keiser Report page
• The official Facebook pages for Max Keiser & Keiser Report STACY SUMMARY: For once and for all, here are our real Facebook pages, the other ones are fake. But if you feel like chatting to the fake ones, by all means, go ahead. Max Keiser & Keiser Report PLUS Stacey Herbert
• VIDEO! Israel’s War on Truth; Brainwash Update by maxkeiser - Abby Martin of Russia Today’s Brainwash Update pointed out that Israel’s targeting of Gaza media centers, which killed journalists and endangered employees of many news organizations, was a war crime. (She was hardly alone in this). She was the victim of a smear attempt by the Israel lobby, which accused her of support for terrorism (because she dared call illegal Israeli actions illegal). If more journalists stood up to such smear campaigns with her feistiness, the world would be a better place. Watch her let her detractors have it: RT’s Abby Martin Accuses Israel of War Crimes for Targetting Journalists (juancole.com)
• Over the past week, Israeli strikes have killed at least 116 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the majority of them civilians, including 27 children. by maxkeiser - READ “No Place is Safe”: After Assault’s Worst Day, Gaza Doctor Says Israel Terrorizing Civilians (www.democracynow.org)
• Financial Holocaust in Full Swing by Max Keiser - The report highlighted the prospect of an increase of between 200,000 and 400,000 in infant mortality and that child malnutrition, already rising, will be one of the main drivers of higher child death rates. READ Financial crisis to deepen extreme poverty, increase child mortality rates – UN report (2009)
• Matt Taibbi: “Carney’s appointment may be seen as an admission that the British banking sector is now so tainted, only an outsider can be trusted to govern them. Almost all of the major English banks have been dinged by ugly scandals.” by maxkeiser - READ Another Goldman Creature Given Vital Government Post (rollingstone.com)
• KEISER REPORT [KR375] Keiser Report: TINA’s Big Black Hole We investigate the black hole of debt sucking in our economies, jobs and wealth like strings of spaghetti past the economic event horizon. In the second half, Max Keiser talks to Ned Naylor-Leyland of Cheviot Asset Management about the fishy smoke signals blowing at the LBMA regarding silver contracts and about the debate between inflation, deflation, hyperinflation actually being a debate about the final denouement of paper currencies. Ned also reveals that the LBMA is about ten times larger than the Comex and that BBC’s flagship programme, Panorama, had interviewed him and Andrew Maguire about silver manipulation and yet have never aired the episode.
• KEISER REPORT [KR376] Keiser Report: Scum & Snooki We peer into the British future and see a future of scum villages and royal baby Snookies as Bank of England executive, Andy Haldane, says the loss of income caused by banks is as bad as World War 2. The Artist Taxi Driver explains what austerity means to the UK. And, while admitting the nation’s wealth has been lost to banker crimes, the cover up continues as Lord Stevenson, formerly of HBOS, claims it was mere incompetence that saw the bank nearly collapse. In the second half, Max Keiser talks to Tim Street of UK Uncut about the protest group’s successful campaigns against Starbucks and other multinationals. They also address how to stop every new tax dollar being sucked straight into the black hole of bank’s fraudulent debt schemes.
• KEISER REPORT [KR377] Keiser Report: Hollywood Accounting, ZIRP and Matt Taibbi We look at how Hollywood accounting has turned the global financial system into one in which money and wealth melt like so much congealed snow. And so from Pontiac, Michigan to the Australian outback, zero percent interest rates and jobs that never materialize are the new normal. In the second half, Max Keiser talks to Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone magazine about banksters who can’t recall a single thing about their crimes, including everything from Libor rigging to defrauding monoline insurers.
• ON THE EDGE On the Edge with Greg Hunter An interview with Greg Hunter of USA Watchdog.
• THE TRUTH ABOUT MARKETS [TaM-1259] The Truth About Markets – 01 December 2012 Download show HERE (mp3)
• Donate to ResonanceFM here!
- ANTIWAR RADIO with Scott Horton
LIVE (9-11am Pacific, 12pm - 2pm Eastern) Plenty of archives too!
Listen at antiwar.com/radio
• Pepe Escobar June 30, 2012: Globetrotting journalist Pepe Escobar discusses his article “Syria and Turkey’s Phantom War;” Turkey’s violation of Syrian airspace in a purposeful, measured provocation and test of Syria’s defenses; the near-invocation of NATO Article 5 and a wider war (an attack on one NATO country is an attack on all); looking for ways to bypass the UN on Syria, since China and Russia won’t let an interventionist resolution pass the Security Council; grand plans for NATO expansion in the official “Assured Security, Dynamic Engagement” plan; counterrevolutions in the Middle East and South America, as the US looks to rebuild its portfolio of client states; and how Qatar has become the new superpower in the Middle East, surpassing even Saudi Arabia.
• SCOTT HORTON July 5, 2012: Scott says goodbye to Antiwar.com. Scott Horton is the former host of Antiwar Radio. Visit his blog Stress. Due to budget cuts Scott lost his gig at AntiWarRadio.com! Whoa! See ScottHortonShow.com for archives! Send emails to Scott at scotthorton.org to help Scott keep his podcast going!
• Many more interviews at Antiwar Radio!
• Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) of the Senate Finance Committee
• Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) of the Senate Banking Committee
• Israel’s Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren.
• ROUNDTABLE: Bill Kristol, Kirsten Powers, Kimberley Strassel, Juan Williams
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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